Anyone who has ever met me will know that I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books until they’ve fallen apart, seen the films a dozen times, collected merch (just little bits, I’m not that extra) and had myself sorted on Pottermore.
I’m a Gryffindor with Hufflepuff tendencies. And its only fitting that my Patronus is a cat.
Every year since 2001, I’d gone to see the Harry Potter films in the cinema on its opening weekend. They were always released within a day or two of my birthday, and thus it was part of my celebrations. Then, in 2012, The Dealthy Hallows Part 2 was released, signalling the end of the Potter era. It was so sad, I honestly felt like crying coming out of the midnight viewing. What was I going to do on my birthday weekends now?
Then JK Rowling, you magnificent bastard, you gave us a gift. Whilst you couldn’t resurrect the Potter movie franchise, you helped build a new one based around a book within a book: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
AND Warner Bros. released it on the same weekend as the Potter films used to be, meaning I got to see as part of my birthday treats!
Fantastics Beasts and Where To Find Them is based on the book by Newt Scamander that is recommended reading as part of the Hogwarts Care of Magical Creatures curriculum. It documents animals that Scamander scoured the globe to locate. Film Scamander is played by Eddie Redmayne, recent Oscar winner, and is depicted a lovable scamp who just wants to save all the animals.
Set in 1926, Scamander comes to America to release an endangered Thunderbird back into its natural habitat of rural Arizona. There, his suitcase containing hundreds of magical creatures is misplaced, ending up in the hands of a no-maj (muggle) named Jacob, who accidentally releases several onto the streets of New York City. Alongside disgraced Auror, Tina and her mind-reading sister Queenie, Scamander and Jacob must collect all the animals without being imprisoned by the magic council (MACUSA) and head-auror Graves. Meanwhile, a destructive force called an Obscura is terrorising the city, in the wake of the Grindlewald massacres.
This review is going to be vague because I don’t want to give ANYTHING away.
Let me start out by saying that if you go into this expecting it to be a Harry Potter film, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s a Newt Scamander epic in its very own right. It fits in with the HP Universe, but its not the same.
The boyfriend and I thought that it would start out like Philosophers Stone, mostly light and childish, and whilst FBAWTFT has its moments aimed towards younger viewers, its a lot darker than Rowlings earliest offerings. There were a lot of kids in the cinema and at one of the most troubling moments, I turned into Helen Lovejoy.
The storyline is well thought out and although I saw most of the major plot points and twists coming from a mile away – that’s just me, I’m exceptionally good at knowing how things will turn out – they were still entertaining to watch. I was surprised at just how far they took some things, but it had just the right amount of drama and comedic timing.
There were exactly two scenes that didn’t fit with the rest of the film. They made me cringe and in hindsight, they were fairly obviously setting up for one of the rumoured FOUR sequels.
The cast were exceptional and I would expect no less from such a big budget franchise. Aside from Eddie Redmayne, FBAWTFT starred Colin Farrell, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton and Johnny Depp, to name a few. There were a couple of hints dropped about a certain character, related to one of the main cast of the HP series. Whilst the character will most likely be interesting, the actress pictured made me sigh internally. She isn’t exactly known for her high calibre performances. I’ll leave it at that.
I expected FTBAWTFT to be visually amazing and I was not disappointed. Using some similar types of effects to the HP series, this film took it to a whole new level of brilliance. There was one particular scene in the climax that was stunning and even now, several hours later, I’m still reeling from it. If Warner Bros hadn’t pulled something spectacular out of the bag, there would have been riots and I’m so glad they managed to produce something so fantastic (see what I did there) to witness.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a wonderful film for adults and children alike. If you love JK’s wizarding world, then I would 100% recommend going to see it.